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  • Writer's pictureH Llama

Paddington: Best of the British

Credit: BBC One

If someone were to ask me what was my highlight of the Platinum Jubilee, it would have to be watching Paddington have marmalade sandwiches with the late Queen. Mostly because I can’t remember much else from the Jubilee, outside of now- King Charles calling the Queen “Mummy” and Prince Louis being adorable. But with the Coronation just around the corner, what better time to review the brilliant movies that led Paddington to have tea with Queen Elizabeth?

The Paddington films are some of the best family films of the 21st century, objectively speaking. With 97% and 99% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear that this is not an exaggeration. Let’s start with the plot of the first film. It’s a standard fish-out-of-water plot, with a naive Paddington arriving in London from Darkest Peru after an awful tragedy in search of a family. What makes this a standout film for me is the perfect balance of comedic and poignant scenes. I will always laugh at the bathroom scene, and cry when Paddington watches the explorer’s film. Speaking of that scene, the music is another win. Not just the calypso music provided by D Lime, but the score, composed by Nick Urata, accentuates the emotions in the given scene. ‘The Explorer’s Film’ is one of my favourite orchestral pieces of all time.

The sequel takes everything that was brilliant about the first film and doubles it. With Paddington firmly a part of the Browns, this film introduces a new type of family - the prison type. It’s a seamless blend of mystery, action and comedy, masterfully written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby, the latter being famous for Horrible Histories and Ghosts. Again, the music is next level, this time composed by Dario Marianelli. But, I can’t forget to mention Hugh Grant’s iconic version of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Rain on the Roof’. Frankly, anyone who doesn’t stick around for the end credits scene is missing out.

What makes both of these films incredible is the cast. Ben Whishaw is the perfect Paddington, bringing much heart and laughter to the role. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the Browns. Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville are amazing together as Henry and Mary, and Julie Walters is brilliant as Mrs Bird. But for me, the stand outs are Nicole Kidman as Millicent Clyde, Brendon Gleeson as Knuckles, and Hugh Grant as Phoenix Buchanan. The antagonists in these films remind me of villains from pantomimes in that they are almost over the top with their evilness. But this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the scenes in the Natural History Museum and on the train are some of my favourites because of the rising tension. Not to mention, both villains' desire to kill Paddington is hilariously dark!

Credit: Mirror Online

There is so much to love about these movies that I feel like I have barely scratched the surface. The kids are great, Peter Capaldi is always a win, I want to live in Windsor Gardens. I believe I could present a 400 slide presentation on why I adore Paddington! But, I think the best way to finish this review is on the sense of community these movies foster. It isn’t every day that you find a world you wish you could enter, but that’s exactly what these movies do for me. I want to be a Brown, or at least a resident of Windsor Gardens! How many films can you say that about? Probably more than me. But how many have an adorable Peruvian bear in the starring role? I think, in this day and age, especially with the Coronation looming, there’s no better feeling than that of love, and that can be felt in every frame of both Paddington and Paddington 2. I can’t wait for Paddington in Peru! Review by Kareena Thummanah

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